Friday, July 23, 2010

Links for Thinking

* Mike Liccione has a post that pretty much sums up my view of the current problems wracking much of the Catholic hierarchy. There are, of course, complete stupidities on the part of some critics, and there is room to be disturbed over people accepting news articles uncritically given that religion reporting is notorious even among journalists for its inaccuracy and sloppiness (due, e.g., to the fact that it is very often handled by people without much background acquaintance with the area in which they are reporting, and to uneven application of standards). But over all, it really is true, with regard to the increasing problems of the bishops, that the worse it gets the better off everyone will be.

* An excellent column by Martha Nussbaum discussing the burqa. A great many people seem to me to be missing the point about one of the arguments, which is not that features of our society are exactly like the burqa but that many of the purported reasons for banning the latter are ones that we obviously don't bother to apply consistently, as witnessed by features of our own society, and therefore are not themselves adequate reasons for such a ban.

* John Wilkins discusses names and nomenclature in classification.

* All-too-true parody of some sermons: the words mean things, but the sermon doesn't. (ht)

* An Egyptian court has overturned an earlier ruling that had involved some pretty serious meddling in the marriage law of Coptic Christians. It was not a black and white issue; the intent had originally been to allow Coptic Christians to remarry after divorces, but the way it was done involved a court telling the Coptic Church what its view of marriage had to be. This problem arises due to the fact that Egypt has no civil marriage. Kudos to Pope Shenouda, by the way, for standing up on the matter and insisting that the Coptic Church would not apply the original decision; this is not always an easy thing to do in Egypt, and shows a great deal of courage.

* A discussion of the Golden Section in architecture.

* Ed Feser has a post on intuitions in contemporary philosophy. As I've argued before you can see very clearly how unsophisticated even the more sophisticated discussions of intuitions in analytic philosophy are by contrasting them with similar discussions in Scottish Common Sense philosophy. The Common Sense philosophers appealed to 'evidence' (which at the time meant something more like 'evidentness' than our meaning) in much the same way analytic philosophers have often appealed to intuitions, but the Common Sense philosophers recognized that this was useless without a rigorous accounting of what they meant. And thus Beattie, for example, has eight different classes of evidence, each with its own account and rational justification, doing the work analytic philosophers over the past few decades have been trying to cram into the one class of 'intuitions'. The problem, of course, is not with talking about intuitions; the problem is with never asking questions about the way in which something is intuitive and what that actually means.

* Saint Nicholas Velimirović on Gandhi.

* Worries about government interference in scientific inquiry continue.

* On Plato's Philebus and desire.

* A philosophy joke. I've heard a similar story, except with the punchline, "Yeah, that's what you say," which is indeed irrefutable and always true.

ADDED LATER:

* Philosopher's Carnival CXI is up at "Parableman"

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